There’s many things going on at St. Joseph’s!

Greetings from St. Joseph’s Indian School,


This past Sunday was a very grace-filled day for St. Joseph’s as 27 of our students, who had been studying since September, received the Sacraments. Nineteen students were fully initiated through Baptism, Confirmation and First Communion.  Two students, previously baptized in another Christian tradition, made a profession of faith in the Catholic Church, were confirmed and received First Communion. Six others who were baptized Catholic as infants, made their First Communion. Continue reading “There’s many things going on at St. Joseph’s!”

Mathias/Stevens Home- Spotlight

Every Tuesday for the next few months, we will be highlighting one of our 20 homes on St. Joseph’s campus.

Here at St. Joseph’s, we provide nationally-accredited home-away-from-homes for Native American children in grades one through twelve.

There are no dorms at St. Joseph’s. Children live in one of our campus homes with two specially-trained houseparents. They live and play together as any family would. The boys and girls learn life skills and enjoy spending time with their ‘St. Joseph’s family’.


Diane and Milton are two of our 3-day houseparent staff. During their 6 days on, 3 days off schedule that is typical for all of our houseparents, they spend 3 days in the Mathias and 3 days in the Stevens homes. This type of schedule allows for both our 6-day and 3-day houseparents to have 3 days off after their 6-day shift.

Our 3-day houseparents play an integral role in both homes they serve! Continue reading “Mathias/Stevens Home- Spotlight”

Senior Home- Spotlight

Every Tuesday for the next few months, we will be highlighting one of our 20 homes on St. Joseph’s campus.

Here at St. Joseph’s, we provide nationally-accredited home-away-from-homes for Native American children in grades one through twelve.

There are no dorms at St. Joseph’s. Children live in one of our campus homes with two specially-trained houseparents. They live and play together as any family would. The boys and girls learn life skills and enjoy spending time with their ‘St. Joseph’s family’.

In 2015, St. Joseph’s began our High School Senior Home program. Hogebach, our senior home, provides opportunities for current high school seniors to learn the skills and responsibilities they will need to be successful after graduation.

Nancy, Al, Melissa and Aaron are St. Joseph’s Senior Advisors.

Nancy and Al have been houseparents at St. Joseph’s for four years. This year is extra special since they have been with the four senior girls since their freshman year! They have enjoyed getting to know both the girls and boys even more this year.

Prior to coming to St. Joseph’s, Continue reading “Senior Home- Spotlight”

Good day from a snowy South Dakota!

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's ChaplainGood day from a snowy South Dakota.

Although we wanted rain more than snow, we’ve had two days of snow this week that has come down looking like it is going to bury everything, but then it lets up and melts quickly. The grass seems to like it as it is starting to turn green in spots.  Hope you’ll have wonderful weather for all the new Easter outfits.

You may recall that I recently mentioned the Chamberlain Cubs had qualified for the State ‘A’ Basketball tournament in Rapid City, SD. They won their first game in a bit of an upset against Sioux Valley. St. Joseph’s own, Davis, went wild again scoring 20 points, grabbing a number of rebounds and making steals all over the court.  Their next game was against the #1 seed, Sioux Valley Christian, which had several players over 6’4’’. It was a hard-fought battle, but their height eventually stymied the Cubs.  The third game saw Chamberlain in the lead until the last few moments, when opposing Dakota Valley got hot.  The Cubs were hurt by poor free throw shooting, only making 5 out of 14 attempts, and came up short when Davis’ three point try, as the horn sounded, rimmed in and came out.

They ended the tournament with a fourth place finish—we are very proud of them!

spirit of 6Another bright note was the fact that the Cubs’ cheerleaders won the Spirit of 6 Award! The award is given yearly in memory of the Rapid City Central Cobblers’ cheerleaders who were killed in an airplane crash coming back to Rapid City from the State ‘A’ tournament in Sioux Falls in March of 1968.  To honor their memory, the South Dakota Peace Officers’ Association has been giving out the award to the best cheerleading squad at the ‘AA’, ‘A’ and ‘B’ tournaments since 1970.  The award is given on the basis of those who exhibit best crowd control, best dress, sportsmanship and enthusiasm.

St. Joseph’s is proud to have two students–Irene and Danielle on the squad. Congratulations to the cheerleaders.

Continue reading “Good day from a snowy South Dakota!”

Fall is in the air at St. Josephs…

Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph's Chaplain
Fr. Anthony, St. Joseph’s Chaplain

Good day from St. Joseph’s Indian School!

Fall is in the air at St. Joseph’s. Leaves are changing and the students are enjoying the fall days as the football season comes to an end.

On Monday, when most of the country was celebrating Columbus Day, the State of South Dakota celebrated Native American Day.  There was a large powwow in Rapid City on October 10 and a good number of our students participated in the event. They were wonderful representatives of St. Joseph’s!

Monday also saw the start of the school’s second quarter. We started the day with a Prayer Service enhanced by Native American activities at Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel.  The service began with the entrance of our powwow royalty accompanied by the Chalk Hill Singers’ drum group.  Several students led us in the Four Direction prayer.  There were also readings from the Gospel of Luke and Joseph Marshall III, a member of the Sicangu Lakota Tribe.

Our artist in residence, V.R. Janis, made presentations in the classroom during the rest of the day. Our students learned a lot!

This past Saturday was the 16th Annual River City Band Festival in downtown Chamberlain.  Our 4th, 5th and 6th grade students helped carry banners in the parade. After the parade, the bands gathered at the local athletic field to perform their field shows.  St. Joseph’s drum group, the Chalk Hill Singers presented the Lakota Flag Song after the National Anthem to begin the afternoon festivities.  I believe this is their first public performance outside of a powwow setting — they did a fantastic job!

A Lakota(Sioux) student participates in Explorers.
Kyle, one of St. Joseph’s students, is the new Explorers Secretary!

The local members of the Chamberlain Middle School Explorers elected their officers for the year recently and one of St. Joseph’s eighth graders, Kyle, was elected secretary.  The Explorers are a service club for sixth thru eighth grade boys that meet every Thursday at 7:30 AM at Chamberlain Elementary School.  This year seven St. Joseph’s students are taking part and four of them are new members.

The Explorers raise money through a variety of projects during the year and then donate the money for someone in need or to the Chamberlain community to help fund various projects.  Last year, they contributed to the new Chamberlain swimming pool complex. They also focus on civics and various lessons called ‘man stuff.’

The group also travels to Pierre to visit the State Capital and meet the Governor.  The year ends with a trip to a major league baseball game.

Two of St. Joseph’s students, Ramez and Tayeden, had a great time meeting donors at the luncheons in the Dallas, TX area. After the luncheons, they had the chance to visit the Texas State Fair and take a VIP tour of AT&T stadium, the home of the Dallas Cowboys.  They even had the chance to visit the Cowboys’ locker room and have their pictures taken in front of the locker of their favorite player, Dez Bryant.

Last week saw the end of the golf season.  Chamberlain High School’s team won multiple invitationals and had all members qualify for the state tournament. Out of the 16 teams that took part, the Cubs came in 8th. Danny, one of St. Joseph’s students, placed in the top 25 as a junior. We are excited to support him next year!

Thank you for your generosity. YOU make everything we do possible.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ


Guest Bloggers: Mike and April

This past mid-term, five of our boys were on the honor roll and two were very close, which is awesome for freshman.  We call that success!!
This past mid-term, five of our boys were on the honor roll and two were very close, which is awesome for freshman. We call that success!!

Hey everyone, this is Mike and April from the Carola Home.

This time of year our boys are balancing school and athletics as well as preparing to go home for the holidays. This can be an overwhelming time for all the boys, but especially the freshman.

Freshmen have already been adjusting to new houseparents, new school, new curriculum and new friends. Our four Juniors have had a couple of years to learn what works for them to succeed in all areas.  However, our three Freshmen still have a lot to learn and this is usually the hardest time of their high school years.

Thankfully, our Juniors have taken our Freshmen under their wings and given them advice on how to deal with homework – number one being do not get behind with missing assignments – classes and teachers, where to go and who you may have to be extra nice to. 🙂 And of course advice on their houseparents – don’t try that, they won’t let you get away with this, handle your business and they won’t make it theirs.

Each student has their own ways to succeed and all seven of our boys are doing just that, succeeding. With all that high school life brings to offer our boys, they are doing an amazing job keeping up with it all.

In our eyes my boys are all number one!!!!
In our eyes my boys are all number one!!!!

St. Joseph’s gives the boys a lot of support with the learning center, which is run by our High School Academic Advisor, Steve. Steve works with Chamberlain High School to help them with their homework.  Our Transitional Specialist, Pam, helps our Juniors with upcoming college trips and helps them plan for the future after St. Joseph’s.

Basketball season has started with Errol, Cody, William and Kyle playing for the Chamberlain Cubs. Our home will be attending many games in the next couple of months to support their fellow classmates.

Shawn is involved in CHS’s Wrestling Team.  We also have one student Dean, who has been actively preparing for the past several weeks to attend LNI (the Lakota Nation Invitational), to participate in the Knowledge Bowl Competition. Trey, one of our Freshmen, is not in any sports. He thought it would be best to give all his focus on his schoolwork, so he can continue his streak of no missing assignments and A honor roll.

Say cheese!

The staff and Native American youth at St. Joseph's Indian School.
Say cheese and smile big!

This morning all our students and staff gathered in front of the school for our annual group picture. Emily bravely stood high above us on a tall ladder. With the cool autumn winds swirling leaves around our feet, we got some 300 people to (mostly) smile at the same time so we can preserve the memories of the 2012-2013 school year at St. Joseph’s.

Chamberlain High School has a fall break, which proved perfect for a trip. The entire Sheehy Home (boys) and our two high school girls who went to Germany last summer (Erika and LaToya) are showing our German exchange students the tourist and cultural sites in Western South Dakota. I’m joining them for the first part of the trip.

Our caravan consisted of a white mini-bus, the high school suburban and my car, and pulled out mid-morning. We made up sack lunches and ate at a roadside rest area along the way to the Badlands. I had two of our seniors, Chris and Erika in my car, and offered them the opportunity to help drive. The other students teased them about me taking a big chance.

In South Dakota, the roads are pretty open and have little traffic anyway, but I remember how much it meant to me when I first got my license and I was trusted enough with the responsibility of driving. Besides, if we are going to teach our students life skills, independence and responsibility, that’s what any parent would do. They both did great. I did take the wheel through the badlands, since there is so much to see, and I wanted everyone else to look.

We hiked for an hour or so to shake off the travel sleepiness. Our German visitors  marveled at the giant sand castle-like formations that seem almost otherworldly, but also the vast treeless plains and vistas of the horizon all along the way. Some of our more adventurous students climbed high into the peaks, while most of us stuck to the marked trails.

Our vehicles were stopped by a herd of about ten bighorn sheep crossing the road looking for a new spot to graze. We also took a look at one of the larger prairie dog towns and saw hundreds of them scurrying about.

Chris’s family lives in Rapid City, and his mom, grandmother and aunt had supper waiting for us – Indian Tacos. Lots of frybread and fixings to feed a group of hungry high schoolers. It gave the exchange students a real taste of local culture.

Guest Blogger: Fr. Anthony

Greetings from the banks of the Missouri River! Fr. Steve is away for a meeting and that gives me the chance to share what’s happening here at St. Joseph’s.

It was a relatively quiet weekend since the powwow is over. Chamberlain High School had an open weekend for sports since their Homecoming was last weekend. Though it seems we just started the school year, our high school students are already at mid-term and had Friday afternoon off. It gave our high school students the chance to work on any “incompletes” they may have. This is important, since all five of our high school homes are have a little competition – whichever home has the fewest “incompletes” will receive a trophy and, of course, bragging rights.

One of the key points our upper classmen share with the incoming freshmen is don’t fall behind in your studies. It is hard to catch up!

The Chamberlain High School soccer team had their last home game on Saturday against Belle Fourche and it was Parent Appreciation Day. Though none of our students are on the team this year, several of our staff have sons and daughters on the team. I was there as an assistant referee (AR), and some of our younger students came up to enjoy the game since they are involved in soccer here on campus.

Native American kids learning about space!
The youngsters here at St. Joseph’s Indian School learned so much in their Star Base classes!

Our fifth grade students had the chance to visit Ellsworth Air Force Base in Rapid City, South Dakota to complete their Star Base class held here at St. Joseph’s all last week. They study physics and other sciences, planting a seed that may encourage our young people to dream about trips into space or perhaps become part of NASA one day.

The sixth, seventh and eighth-grade volleyball teams did well as they traveled to Pierre Indian Learning Center in Pierre with each team winning their matches. This week they will play against Chamberlain, our cross-town rivals. Also on the calendar is a seventh and eighth-grade football game against the Chamberlain Cubs to be held here at St. Joseph’s on Tuesday.

St. Joseph's Indian School presents its Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Orville’s son and daughter-in-law accepted the Distinguished Alumnus Award on his behalf.

There is a conference on Native American Education taking place at Cedar Shores, a hotel and convention center just across the river from us (the same location where the banquet for our powwow guests was held). One of the presenters is Mr. Bud Webb, the son of Orville Webb, a member of St. Joseph’s first graduating class back in 1928. He had represented his father last year when his dad was honored, along with another graduate in that class, with St. Joseph’s Indian School’s alumni award. He stopped by on Sunday to attend Mass in Our Lady of the Sioux Chapel.

In the “be careful what you wish for” category, we had been praying for good weather for the powwow, which we got. We also prayed for cooler temperatures and we got them. We have had cool weather in the mornings, but Saturday stayed nippy all day even though the sun was out. It was in the mid 50’s but seemed cooler since things had been so warm. We do still need rain, but the cooler temperatures were nice to experience.

We hope you have a wonderful week! Thanks again for your interest in and support of St. Joseph’s Indian School. Know that we are grateful and keep you in our prayers.

Fr. Anthony Kluckman, SCJ
St. Joseph’s Indian School

Authors of their own destiny

Graduation packed our chapel with students, families and our staff. When St. Joseph’s only went up to eighth grade, several traditions were started to make a big deal about this level of graduation. Now, we tell students we hope this is the first of several graduations, but we still celebrate with lots of pomp and circumstance. Twenty-one young men and women proudly walked down the aisle of the chapel, while their houseparents read a brief bio of their home and tribe, favorite memories of St. Joseph and future plans. Most (18 or 19) will stay with us next year and continue in Chamberlain High School.

Marcel Felicia at St. Joseph's Indian School's graduation.
Marcel Felicia congratulating one of the recent graduates.

Marcel Felicia, who graduated in the same place in 1975, was our graduation speaker. He just completed a Master’s degree in Public Health Administration.

He told the Native American students that while there are a lot of chapters of their book of life yet to be written, they are in large part authors of their own destiny.

The next chapters depend on the choices they make, so he urged them to make good and wise ones. Due to generosity of donors, we had scholarship money available to help Marcel further his education. He told me that it had long been a dream, but the scholarship helped make that dream a reality.

A candle burned on the altar, symbolizing our many donors whose generosity makes a good education here possible. We ran an internet campaign where folks could light a candle for their hometown and include an inspirational message of support to our students. When I last checked, something like 3,400 people from across the country had logged in with heartfelt messages of congratulations!

A slide show montage of students’ childhood pictures brought back memories. When I first started at St. Joseph’s this group of youngsters was in the first grade. One student has no childhood pictures from early years, which is sad. We put together happier memories of his school days here.

Native American student saying, "Pilamaya - thank you!"
“Pilamaya – thank you – for making a difference in my life!”

Each student passed out two roses and several cards to family or staff members who have made a big difference in their lives. I’m always touched to see one of our teachers, counselors or houseparents who frequently are the recipient of one of the roses because of their care and guidance.

I enjoyed meeting and celebrating with the students families. Some have been very involved in campus activities, but some I met for the first time. I hope to see all of them throughout the high school years, and especially in another celebration four years from now.

Field days and math tests

Great throw Miles!

The school was unusually quiet when I visited yesterday. Grades 1-5 were up at the high school track for their field days.

As this school year ends, I was involved in meetings with staff about next year’s schedule and our long-range maintenance and planning needs, so I didn’t make the festivities. When I caught up with the students after school, they proudly displayed the ribbons they won for 100 meter dash, softball throw or a score of other events.

Our middle school students were in the classrooms. One very quiet room was finishing up the last math test of the semester. The 6th grade language arts students had finished their Literature reader and were taking off dust covers and cleaning up the books to prepare them for next year’s classes. All the classrooms are scheduled to get a clean coat of paint over the summer. As the teachers put things away, the walls are starting to look especially bare to prepare for that work.

Today was the last faculty meeting of the year. Kathleen, our principal ordered the makings for banana splits and I helped dish out ice cream and thank the teachers at the close of another successful year. Some of them will work for parts of our summer program. Some will take the summer off or do something completely different to renew themselves for next year. Richard and Vaye Jean are retiring, and Kathleen presented them with a small gift as a token of our affection.

Human Resources (HR) updated me that we’ve filled most of our school positions, but are still interviewing for four more positions. Our advertising and word of mouth seems to be working as there are a good pile of resumes to review and references to call. HR is one of the busier groups on campus over the summer as we try to get new staff trained and in place for a smooth start in the fall.

Most of our donations are small, regular sacrificial gifts in the $20 range. Larger gifts usually come in the form of a bequest or a charitable gift annuity. But today I was surprised by the biggest unannounced donation I’ve seen this year – enough to pay 3 teacher’s salaries, or help with special projects wherever it is needed! When I made a personal call to thank the donor, he was a man of few words, but just wanted the money to benefit our students and our programs. I am humbled and grateful for people’s generosity, and committed to running good programs that use these resources to make a difference.